|Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition||Public Domain via Project Gutenberg|
, a market town in the Eastern parliamentary division of Worcestershire, England, 12 m. N.N.E. of Worcester, with a station 1 m. from the town on the Bristol-Birmingham line of the Midland railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 8418. It lies in a pleasant undulating district near the foot of the Lickey Hills, to surmount which the railway towards Birmingham here ascends for 2 m. one of the steepest gradients in England over such a distance. There remain several picturesque half-timbered houses, dating from 1572 and later. The church of St John is a fine building, Perpendicular and earlier in date, picturesquely placed on an elevation above the town, with a lofty tower and spire. There are a well-known grammar-school, founded by Edward VI., with university scholarships; a college school, a literary institute, and a school of art. Birmingham Sanatorium stands in the parish. Cloth was formerly a staple of trade, but manufactures of nails and buttons are now pre-eminent, while the river Salwarpe works a number of mills in the neighbourhood, and near the town are carriage works belonging to the Midland railway.